tonight on "nightline," hooked on food. how the ingredients in fast foods trick your brain and have made millions of americans addicted to eating. there's major debate as the true cost of obesity begins. what you need know and what you need to know if you can't stop. the bargain hunter. with new glimmers of hope in the battered housing market, we take a home tour with one investor who sees a great deal on every street corner. so just how much could your home be worth now? plus, so long sarah, and good-bye to the governor who liked to wink, loved to hunt moose and became a media phenomenon. so what next for the conservative star some say is the party favorite for 2012. we'll have a dispatch from fairbanks. captions paid for by abc, inc.
good evening. as president obama fights to bring about healthcare reform, the cdc released a study today that reveals the stark cost of obesity. obese americans are now responsible for almost $150 billion a year in healthcare costs. that's nearly 10% of all medical spending. and with one in three adults now clinically obese it seems that the message of eating less and exercising more is still struggling to get through. but is there something in the food we eat that may be adding to the problem? juju chang now reports for our series "you are what you eat". >> bacon and egg and cheese sandwiches. a lot of that kind of stuff. >> greg wells is a recovering addict, but his vice wasn't heroin or meth, it was available
over the counter. the grocery store counter. >> i loved salty, snacky, sweet, anything. my problem is that once i'd start i wouldn't stop. >> the 44-year-old father of two weighed 431 pounds and his size 56 pants were tight. he suffered arthritic bursitis in his knees. he could barely make it up a flight of stairs. >> if i left my cell phone up the stairs before going to work i'd give a second thought to going up there because of the pain in my knees. >> when in doubt, just add bacon and cheese to it. >> david kessler knows what greg's brain went through. though never obese, the former head of the fda says he too was a conditioned hyper eater. a term he coined in his new book "the end of overeating". >> i have suits in every size. what wassi what was -- what was going on,
why does that chocolate chip cookie have that power over me? >> he first started to ask such questions as dean of yale's medical school and he got a group of colleagues together to figure it out. >> it's a major factor of the >> and at the core is the weight. why was it so hard? that was the question. >> the answer says kessler is that for roughly 70 million people, their brains are wired in such a way that they are literally hooked on food. >> not because you're lazy or not self-disciplined. your brain is being activated. >> your brain has been hijacked by fat, sugar and salt on some level? >> that's exactly right. you get -- it could be the sight, the smell, just the location, the visual. . >> we pulleded together a panelf overeaters to h hel illuminate kessler's findings. those wh obsess aboufood and
have dififficulty stopping. maryrean ss she's been an overeater her entire life. >> i will be at the supermarket, , the's the candy. >> wendy wesslerad gastric bypass, but can't stopixatg on food. >> oh, i have e e piece of choc chocolate. >> her brain scan showed whait shows wheneople say, i'm hungry for french fries. >> to a m-- the amigdala reacts and for slender people, once they're given a milk shake, it turns off, but for conditioned hyper eaters it remains on, which explains why as they feel they can't stop. >> i usually continue stop until i finish the quantity t
i ually try to buy small bags because i know i'll eat the whole bag. >> and the attention center of the brain is different for overeaters. people like christine zuccarelli would get distracted at the mere thought of food. >> i don't care what's going on around me. i just care about what am i going to get and how am i going to get it? >> conditioned hyper eatermas ke up 20% of the u.s. population. roughly 50% of obese people, 30% of overweight people and 20% of people who are healthy weight. it's no coincidence that food manufacturers have engineered salty, sugary, fatty foods that help trigger what we crave. >> put it on every corner, make it available 24/7. make it socially acceptable to eat any time, make it into entertainment and what do you have? you have one of the great public health crises of our time.
>> in fact, researcher has shown that fat, sugar and salt opens up the dopamine pathway, which is at the root of many addictions. >> for some of us, it could be alcohol or tobacco or illegal drugs or sex. >> there's my friend, i'd eat when i was sad or lonely and i have joking around, saying like ben & jerry were the only two men in my life when i was in high school. >> here's to making mornings better. >> the miniburgers with flavor. >> you take the stimuli and the advertising, say you can do it with your friends, go have a good time, walk in to a modern american restaurant, the tv's, the noise and the colors, it's as if we're constantly in this food carnival. who wouldn't want to get on the ride? >> french fries -- >> kessler says we need to read between the lines when we look
at menus and he's created private rules for himself to remind him what foods to avoid. >> menu is no different than advertising. i mean, the goal is to sell you on eating certain foods. you pick buffalo wings. what are the you take the fatty part of the chicken, usually fried in the manufacturing plant and then fried again in the kitchen. what are we eating? fat on fat on fat on sugar on fat and salt. >> as head of the fda kessler fought the most preventable causes of early death -- smoking and obesity. he forced food manufacturers to display nutritional information. now, he's continuing that crusade. one book at a time to challenge the food industry. what would compel them to reduce their profits and say let's sell less? >> you know, we have been -- we
have been here before. what did we have to change with tobacco? >> changed the perception of the product. >> exactly. that was easy, because you can live without tobacco. food is harder, but we need to be able to change certainly the way we perceive big food. and these huge portions. >> greg wells retrained his brain with the support of loved ones and he's replaced the foods he was addicted to with healthy foods. he no longer glorifies junk food. he tells himself it's slowly killing him and certainly no longer an option. >> like a christmas ornament. shiny and nice, but not edible. >> in the past, he would look at the same food, i want that, that's my friend, that's going to make me feel better. he now looks at that food not as his friend or something that will make him feel better. he wants something me. >> and i'm -- i'm around 36/38
now. >> that shift in perception has lped him lose 130 pounds over 14 months. he no longer takes five pills a day for blood pressure and diabetes. the guy who could barely make it up the steps has come a long way. >> to be able to run a 5 k is pretty amazing for me. >> i'm juju chang in new york. >> one success story in fight against fat. you can see more of juju chang's story tomorrow morning on "good morning america." when we come back, it looks like the real estate market is beyond rock bottom. you? oes the good news mean ♪
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increases and one that far exceeded expectations. of course, the outlook is not all rosy. home values continue to fall and the unsolved properties is vast. but the man you're about to meet may hold a key to the turn around as lilisa fletcher repor for ouour r seesesrety checkck >> well,l, ththis is the very typical hohome that you buy. it's a three bedroom, two bath. and it's a total wreck. >> i it's a housuse that t most investstors s wowould have wrir off. in california's ha-hit moreno valley,, banks own empty h hous on every street, bubut he will pour money into it for repairsr >> when you're rehabbingng hous that's one o of the bibiggggest mistakes you can make is thinking you can save something anand d then put it next to
something brand new. >> b but a after he's done re e renovating, norris will rent this home at a monthly profit. what is the plan? when you buy a house like this, do you intend to keep it for a decade? >> i intend to hold it as a rental. it will rent for somewhere around $1,200 and we'll keep it. >> such a good return that norris buys an average of seven houses a month. people have been called vultures in your position. what do you think of that? >> i think it comes from somebody who doesn't understand we don't do. when we come in here, we make this nicer than any house in the block. >> norris says that banks don't lend money to buyers for houses that need extensive repair. and so it's people like people investors buying up delinquent properties and reinjecting them into the real estate market who are revitalizing it. this renoved property still
sits on a street with bank owned, abandoned properties. it's sad when you have a family neighborhood like this and you have bank owned, bank owned, and then boarded up with plywood. >> this a problem. if there's no way to get these fixed, then this cld be worse than three months. and that's -- this neighborhood is not going to benefit from that. >> no matter what condition norris purchases them in, they all go through the same rehab process. well, this is a little different than the last one we were in. >> yes, it is. very typical of our rehabs. we go from what we saw before to this. we replace almost everything. the kitchen is one of the things that we concentrate on the most. so we always put in granite. cabinets are almost always new. so that's going to turn into this. i know it's hard to see when you look at it for first time, but that's what's going to happen. >> norris has been in real
estate for 28 years. you have bought how many homes over your home? >> honestly it's over a thousand. >> how many do you hold right now? >> the company deals with 25 we buy or sell. >> he hosts a weekly radio show where he offers advise to other would be investors. >> that house that is worth 350 -- >> the problem is there are not enough buyers and you'll end up with a lot of vacant homes. >> right now investors can only get financing on up to ten homes at a time. after that, the banks won't lend to even the most solvent of them. >> most of the skilled investors already have ten or morehouses. there is not any advancing available. >> outside a trustee sale and the hard hit inland empire, many of those would-be investors gather to learn about the latest foreclosures.
what kind of deals do you get? >> when you buy at the trustee sales, usually the homes are in good condition. >> while he believes that investor financing is key he believes it should be tough to make it safe for the banks. >> you need all of us in unison doing this across the country to solve this problem. if we do, then -- then we get to the other side of this much, much quicker. there's a lot of people that owe let's say 50 or 100 more than their home is worth, but the majority of them are hanging in there, making their payments. i think e only way you reward them is get the price supported by getting rid of the vacant inventory as fast as you can. even if you didn't like iner haves you go i guess we had too many houses, we should sell them to somebody other than the next owner occupant. >> someone like bruce norris. >> i am a guy that started with
a high school diploma, married at 17 and i live in a country that allows me to pursue the dream of being wealthy and providing better for my family. and along the way we have provided services when we take a home and fix it up and resell it and make a profit or keep it as a rental. we need the big investor to step up. >> step up around turn it back into a family home. >> this is lisa fletcher for "nightline" in riverside, california. >> making a career out of the foreclosure crisis. our thanks to lisa fletcher. when we come back, on the trail in alaska for a look at sarah palin's -mon rol roller coaster ride and what a wild ride it's been. in all u.s. libraries.od where did it come from? store transactions, market movements. emails, photos... videos... blogs... what if technology could capture all this information... and turn it into intelligence. we could identify patterns faster... we could predict with greater confidence...
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little discussion of what's next. but it was the latest episode in this real-life northern exposure. and neal karlinsky was there. >> remember i promised to steadfastedly and doggedly guard the interests of this state as a mother naturally guards her own. i will keep that vow wherever the road may lead. >> if nothing else it certainly was an unusual way to leave her job behind. sarah palin spent her final days in office another a series of picnics. serving up hot dog after hot dog after hot dog to thousands. we watched her serve hot dogs for hours. she was good at it. though she wouldn't answer questions about nonhot dog related issues such as her future. governor, can you tell us if you plan -- sarah palin has come a
long way since first launching into the media spotlight as just another hockey mom from alaska. >> the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? lipstick. >> since then, her dvr at home must be bursting at the seams. >> governor sarah palin of the great state of alask >> it was 11 months ago that she injected an instant flash energy into john mccain's presidential bid. she was a rock star at republican campaign events. but once she veered off script and was forced to answer questions, her image began to shift. >> you can actually see russia from land here in alaska. >> "saturday night live" turned the moment into a new full-time job for tina fey. >> and i can see russia from my house. >> and created clips palin must have wanted to delete from that dvr. >> this right here is water and
that is russia. >> what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read? >> it didn't end there. >> i mean -- >> specifically, i'm curious -- >> all of them. any of them that have -- that have been in front of me over all these years. >> and then there was the vice presidential debate. >> that's a positive, that's encouragement and that's what john mccain meant. >> where she was given a hard time for her casual style. >> say it ain't so, joe. >> john mccain ani, we're a couple of mavericks. >> the parodies and one liners never let up. she remained mccain's attack dog on the campaign trail and ease up on the moments she couldn't control. >> i appreciate you. >> but after the election when she returned home to her beloved alaska, things just weren't the same. the beast that was the palin media phenomenon followed her. from the levy johnston scandal,
to a seemingly endless of ethics complaints to the feud with david letterman. it was a constant companion. so she decided her state would be better off without her and all the costly scandals was getting in her job. >> with this announcement that i'm not seeking re-election, i thought it best to transfer the power to lieutenant governor parnell. >> the crowd was unsure why they were saying good-bye, but she has their vote. >> it breaks my heart because we voted for her and we believe in her. she's honest. and she was like a breath of fresh air. >> by the time she finally gave it all up yesterday and handed over her job as governor, no one could say palin hadn't dealt with more than her share of time in the spotlight. so what's a hockey mom to do now? get ready for more. palin 2.0, coming soon to a television near you.
i'm neal karlinsky for "nightline" in fairbanks, alaska. >> our thanks to neal karlinsky. we'll be right back. if we don't act, medical bills will wipe out eir savings. we don't act, she'll be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. and he won't get the chemotherapy he needs. if we don't act, health care costs will rise 70%. and he'll have to cut benefits for his employees. but we can act. the president and congress have a plan to lower your costs